Making the Mundane Fun: The C.O. Bigelow Apothecary


Each week I find myself going back to the same pharmacy in my neighborhood, and each time I am annoyed by the lines, unhelpful staff, and scattered array of products. I never knew a pleasant, clean, charming pharmacy could even exist until I walked into C.O. Bigelow in the West Village. Nestled amongst the quaint stores on 6th Avenue sits historic C.O. Bigelow, the oldest Apothecary in America. Ian Ginsberg, proprietor of C.O. Bigelow today, has kept the historic Apothecary tradition alive in today’s modern society. The store’s unrivaled selection of American and European luxury beauty products is in many ways thanks to Ian’s extensive knowledge of all things beauty and personal care and his ability to spot the hottest and most unique new products. C.O. Bigelow is perfect for someone who wants a one-stop shop for all things skin, hair, and even accessories, with a knowledgeable staff and even a full pharmacy, to ensure you find the right products for you. It’s a convenient collection of Ian’s favorite products, some of which are unique, some rare, and of course many of your everyday favorites.

Ian’s history with C.O. Bigelow began when his grandfather bought the business in the late 1930s. After becoming a licensed pharmacist in 1985 and not being fully satisfied working in that capacity, Ian set out to create his own niche in the family business at C.O. Bigelow. Ian began to work on ways to improve and expand Bigelow’s beauty and personal care business. He started by obtaining a knowledgeable staff, which Ian believes is the heart and soul of any business.

In the late 80s, after listening to the needs of his trusted staff and clientele, Ian realized the importance of introducing European products to the store in addition to the old favorites that C.O. Bigelow carried for almost a century. During my own personal tour of the store with Ian, he showed me products, such as the Lemon Body Cream, where the product recipes date back to the 1800s, and the body cream is still a top seller today. All the recipes that inspired the contemporary C.O. Bigelow product line are available today at the flagship store and at Bath & Body Works stores nationwide.

Today, C.O. Bigelow has taken actual formulations and ingredients that have been documented for nearly two centuries, fusing them with the best of today’s technology, and C.O. Bigelow’s Personal Care Collection was born. Ian and the Bath and Body Works team worked together to develop a unique range of skin care products for the face and body. These tried and true formulas have been trusted by men and women through the ages and have been perfected for today’s consumer.

Between Ian’s unparalleled pharmacist knowledge and the store’s vast offerings, it’s no wonder C.O. Bigelow attracts a cult following, celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Liv Tyler, and the Olsen twins flock to Bigelow for all their beauty needs. Ian’s favorite products include the C.O. Bigelow All-in-One Protective Day Cream SPF 25, C.O. Bigelow Multi-Nutrient Repair Serum, and the C.O. Bigelow Lemon & Pomegranate Body Scrub. My only complaint is that I wish I lived a bit closer so I could make this my go-to pharmacy. For the time being, I’ll settle for visiting it as a special treat when I want a new product or need a unique gift.

CO Bigelow Store
414 6th Ave – at 9th Street
NY, NY 10011

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